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Gazimestani 2014 DSCN6944.JPG
Gazimestan monument
Gazimestan is located in Kosovo
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates42°41′26″N 21°7′25″E / 42.69056°N 21.12361°E / 42.69056; 21.12361
Location5 km (3.1 mi) from Pristina, Kosovo[a]
DesignerAleksandar Deroko
Typememorial, tower
Height25 m (82 ft)
Completion date1953
Dedicated tofallen Serbian soldiers at the Battle of Kosovo (1389)

Gazimestan (Serbian Cyrillic: Газиместан, Serbian pronunciation: [ɡaziměstaːn], Albanian: Gazimestani) is the name of a memorial site and monument commemorating the Battle of Kosovo (1389), situated about 6-7 kilometres southeast of the actual battlefield, known as the Kosovo field. The name is a portmanteau derived from Arabic ghazi, meaning "hero" or "champion", and Serbian word mesto, meaning "place". Gazimestan is reached from the PristinaMitrovica highway, on a 50-metre hill above the plain, ca. 5 km north-west from Pristina. Every year, on Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day), 28 June, a commemoration is held by the monument, which in later years is also covered by an image of Prince Lazar, who led the Christian army at the battle.


The site was the place where Despot Stefan Lazarević erected a marble pillar with an inscription commemorating the battle.[1] That monument disappeared during the Ottoman period.[1] A monumental building in the form of a temple (Vidovdanski hram, "Vidovdan temple") designed by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović was planned but never realized.[1] In 1924 a small monument honouring the Serbian heroes at the battle (Kosovski junaci, "Kosovo heroes") was erected; it was an obelisk with a cross on top.[1] It had a Cyrillic inscription: "To the fallen heroes for the honorable cross, freedom, and rights of their people – 1389 1912 – [by] thankful descendants, citizens and soldiers of the city of Priština".[1] During World War II, just after the Yugoslav capitulation, the monument was mined by Albanian fascist troops and completely destroyed.[1] In the years prior to the war, a larger monument had been planned and a cornerstone placed near where the present monument is, but the threat of war put it on hold.[2]

Until the end of World War I and the creation of Yugoslavia (1918) there were no conditions or opportunities for large masses to gather at the site. More notable celebrations of Vidovdan (St. Vitus' day) at Gazimestan are noticed only since 1919, in 1924 when the obelisk was erected, and finally before the start of the war, five and a half centuries after the battle.[2] In this period an estimated 20,000–100,000 people gathered on Vidovdan at Gazimestan.[2] Participants included not only native Kosovo Serbs, but also others from distant regions, such as the Bay of Kotor, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Old Montenegro, and Skoplje, Zagreb, Belgrade and some places in Vojvodina.[2] The celebration programme included, from 9 or 10 o'clock, commemoration in liturgy at Gračanica, Samodreža and Gazimestan, speeches, discourses, and artillery fire.[3] In 1935 and 1939 there were also air show.[3]

In 1989, on the 600th anniversary, Serbian president Slobodan Milošević held the famous Gazimestan speech at the site.

In 1997 the site was declared a cultural heritage of Serbia.[4]

In 1999, in the aftermath of the Kosovo War (1998–99) the monumental area was mined.[4]

In 2007, a 14-day march from Belgrade to Gazimestan was organized by several patriotic organizations.[5]

In 2009, the commemoration brought the biggest crowd since 1999, with several thousand people.[6]

In 2010, the Kosovo Police was handed over the task of guarding the monument, which was criticised by the Serbian government.[7] In 2014, President Tomislav Nikolić held a speech at the monument.[8]


The Gazimestan monument was designed by Aleksandar Deroko, in the shape of a medieval tower, and built in 1953 under the authority of SFR Yugoslavia.

:Whoever is a Serb and of Serb birth

And of Serb blood and heritage
And comes not to the Battle of Kosovo,
May he never have the progeny his heart desires!
Neither son nor daughter
May nothing grow that his hand sows!
Neither dark wine nor white wheat
And let him be cursed from all ages to all ages!
— Inscription on the monument of the "Kosovo curse" attributed to Prince Lazar.
This version first appeared in the 1845 folk songs collection of Vuk Karadžić.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The political status of Kosovo is disputed. Having unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo is formally recognised as an independent state by 97 UN member states (with another 15 states recognising it at some point but then withdrawing their recognition), while Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Marković 1989, p. 128.
  2. ^ a b c d Marković 1989, p. 129.
  3. ^ a b Marković 1989, p. 130.
  4. ^ a b "Gazimestan". Spomenici. Republic of Serbia. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  5. ^ "Vreme 860 - Kosovo: Vidovdan 2007". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Serbs celebrate Vidovdan in Kosovo". 28 June 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Kosovo police take over historic site of Gazimestan". BBC News. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Nikolić's speech at Gazimestan interrupted". 30 June 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2015.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°41′26″N 21°07′25″E / 42.69056°N 21.12361°E / 42.69056; 21.12361